On Oct. 17, the Department of Education officially launched the student debt forgiveness program application process following the successful launch of its beta site over the weekend.
The Biden Administration first announced it will be forgiving student loan debt for some borrowers in August. According to U.S. Department of Education data, an estimated 27 million borrowers will qualify for up to $20,000 in debt relief under this plan, which is designed to aid low- to middle-income families.
Do I Qualify For Student Loan Debt Forgiveness?
To qualify, you must have an individual income less than $125,000, or under $250,000 for households, according to the Federal Student Aid program.
If you qualify, the amount you receive in debt relief will depend upon whether you received a Pell Grant. The U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients that have loans held by the Department of Education. Non-Pell Grant recipients are eligible for up to up to $10,000 in debt cancellation. If you aren’t sure if you received a Pell Grant, you can check by logging into your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) account.
The loan forgiveness program does not apply to private student loan borrowers. Those who used Perkins and Federal Family Education loans may also not be eligible, after the federal government changed the terms of the forgiveness plan for some of those borrowers earlier this month.
Some borrowers who are employed by nonprofits, the military, or federal, state, Tribal or local government may be eligible to have all of their student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
If you qualify, your relief will be capped at the amount of debt you have. For example, if you’re eligible for up to $20,000 but only have $15,000 in debt, you will only receive $15,000.
The Federal Student Aid program has more details on the plan here.
How To Apply For Student Loan Debt Forgiveness
First, visit studentaid.gov and click “Start the Application” in the student loan debt relief section.
The application will ask for basic personal information, including name, Social Security number, date of birth, phone number and email.
Documentation about your income or your student loans is not required.
Applicants will also be asked to review and submit the agreement. Look over the eligibility rules, and once you must make sure you meet them, fill out your name again and click the box confirming that the information you provided is accurate.
Borrowers must apply for the forgiveness program by Dec. 31, 2023.
CNBC reported that those who applied while the site was in beta mode do not need to re-submit.
Sarah Rogers at Scripps National contributed to this report.